Under sunny skies

Under sunny skies, large crowds flocked to one of the most successful stagings of the Lamoille Area Cancer Network’s annual cancer walk. More than $210,000 was raised for the organization, an event-day record.

Saturday’s all-day annual LACiNg up for Cancer walkathon was a blue-sky reminder that what goes around comes around again, as hundreds of people made lap after lap to raise more money than the walk ever had before.

The 12-hour walk, organized by and supporting the Lamoille Area Cancer Network, had brought in $210,141 by the time it ended at 11 p.m.

According to Jill Baker, one of the organizers, the money is still coming in. According to the network’s Facebook page, as of June 27, just five days after the walk, the amount was over $217,000.

Baker said the biggest previous total was about $211,000, with money trickling in for weeks after the walk ended.

“I think we were glowing” when the total was announced Saturday, Baker said, similar to the thousands of glowing “luminaries” that dotted the Peoples Academy track, white bags with decorations and writings remembering people who died of cancer and people who survived it.

“It’s just a special feeling to think of how this community comes together to help each other,” Baker said.

She pointed to the Tasha Lehouillier team, formed in honor of a Morrisville woman who was just 30 when she died of cancer in March.

“We just lost her, and I truly think this helped her family and the friends who came out,” Baker said.

She said 91 teams participated in the event, along with countless other individuals who dropped in for a few laps during the day.

Kathy Demars, another organizer, said another team lost a family member that very day, and still came out to support everyone else, and just be with like-minded people.

“I think the best part of the day is people get to be there all day and not think about the outside world,” Demars said.

With more money comes a stark reminder of just how much that money is needed for the organization that supports Lamoille County-area cancer patients. Baker said the network awarded 84 grants in May alone.

Lamoille Area Cancer Network gives nearly every dollar it raises back to the community, in the way of small financial gifts to help support cancer survivors, patients and their families — transportation, food, anything they need “while they are going through their journey with cancer,” notes the website.

The network prides itself in giving out 700 grants a year, exceeding $180,000. This year’s haul will add a lot more.

And the organization does it with no paid staff and virtually no overhead. Well, maybe a little something overhead.

Said Baker, “We do have to pay for the fireworks, but the people really like that.”

This story was updated July 2.

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